Skydivers' plane crashes in Belgium, 11 killed

Sat Oct 19, 2013 2:09pm EDT
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BRUSSELS (Reuters) - A small Pilatus plane carrying a group of skydivers crashed in Belgium on Saturday, killing all 11 people on board despite the attempts of several to jump to safety, local authorities said.

The plane took off from a small airport near Namur, central Belgium, carrying members of a local skydiving club, and crashed 20 minutes later near Fernelmont, south-east of Brussels.

"According to witnesses, a part of the plane broke off, it nosedived and crashed into the ground like a stone," Jean-Claude Nihoul, mayor of Fernelmont, told Reuters.

He said three of the passengers had tried to save themselves by jumping from the plane but they were too late. All of the people on board were Belgian.

(Reporting by Robert-Jan Bartunek, editing by Foo Yun Chee and Mark Trevelyan)

Police officers inspect the scene of a plane crash in Marchovelette, eastern Belgium October 19, 2013. REUTERS/Eric Vidal